Chinese customs didn’t remove Lithuanian goods as claimed, but risks persist: sources
Chinese customs didn’t remove products as claimed: sources
Published: Dec 08, 2021 09:18 PM
The China Post CR Express 1st block train is unloading in Vilnius, Lithuania, April 14, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

The "China Post" CR Express 1st block train is unloading in Vilnius, Lithuania, April 14, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese customs and other sources told the Global Times on Wednesday that Lithuanian products had never been removed from China's customs list as claimed by some companies from the Baltic country. But industry insiders warned of potential risks posed by Lithuania's provocation against China. 

Some Lithuanian companies said on Tuesday that Lithuanian goods had again been granted access to China, just four days after they claimed to have been excluded from the Chinese customs system, laying bare profound numerousness among Lithuanian businesses in the face of escalating diplomatic tension.   

Chinese observers said that rather than continuously highlighting imaginary "economic coercion," Lithuania should better correct its mistakes on the Taiwan question as soon as possible, or it will go down a path of further deteriorating bilateral trade ties.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post on Tuesday, Lithuanian exporters have again been granted access to the Chinese market, after being "unable to send shipments because of technical problems" on Friday.

Vidmantas Janulevicius, president of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists, told the newspaper that members had been able to select "Lithuania" as an option when entering the country of origin for the goods they exported. Janulevicius said that starting from Tuesday morning, Lithuania was included in the system again.

Last Friday, some foreign media outlets reported that Lithuanian products had been removed from China's customs systems, with some painting the move as a countermeasure by China. 

However, customs in Qiangdao, East China's Shandong Province, a major import hub, said on Wednesday that it had not received any official documents to halt Lithuania's exports to China so far.

An international trade enterprise in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region told the Global Times on Wednesday that Lithuania can still be found on the China International Trade Single Window, an official website for international trading companies to submit declaration documents to Chinese customs. 

"Lithuania is available in multiple sections that need to be filled in by 'country,' such as the export origin," said a staffer at the enterprise.

A Global Times investigation into claims of removal earlier this week, which included interviews with several sources close to Chinese customs and industry insiders, also found that Lithuanian products were still listed in official customs systems, indicating it was never removed.

An international trade agent said on Wednesday that the procedure for Chinese goods exports to Lithuania is also running normally.  

China downgraded its diplomatic ties with the Baltic state and suspended consular services there over the latter's mistake on the Taiwan question.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned Lithuania and Taiwan secessionists that there will be a price to pay for undermining China's sovereignty. 

"We once again admonish Lithuania to take concrete actions to correct its mistakes and fulfill its political commitments on Taiwan-related affairs," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at the end of November.

Chinese experts have warned that while there have been no direct economic countermeasures taken yet against Lithuania, future countermeasures cannot be ruled out if Lithuania continues on the wrong path.

Chinese industry players also said that they have already looked into alternative sources to diversify their supplies amid growing tension from the Lithuanian side on trade.

Lithuania, which trades largely with EU countries, exported 300 million euros ($338 million) worth of goods to China in 2020, making it the country's No.22 destination for exports, Reuters reported in early December, citing government statistics.